The most incredible thing about this find, the rangers realized, is that thousands of years ago, members of this long-dead civilization may have been watching the rangers’ own home planets. Concept art by Leon Tukker.
George R.R. Martin Responds to Accusations of Hugo Awards Racism, Apologizes for Mispronouncing Names
Caves on Venus are not remarkable. There are a whole set of waterless geological processes that can form them. And if we hadn’t started terraforming, we probably would have never noticed Cave #17 in the east peninsula of Pheobe Regio.
As we strolled into the ruins Professor Ekwensi said, “Well, the radioactive debris lining the tubes of the assembly in front of us seem consistent with expected decay modes of particles of negative mass.”
I’m just a trucker so I replied with “Huh? Wazzat? Standard English please!”
Ekwensi clicked her irritation at having to unpack a lot of detail for me. She stopped and audibly sucked a lot of air.
“Look, after loop quantum gravity was confirmed back in the 40s, one of the predictions it made was that there should be a pairing of negative and positive mass. Positive mass I’m sure you’re familiar with. We wouldn’t be able to stand on the face of Venus without it. Earth and Venus wouldn’t be spherical without it.
“There were hints on the existence of negative mass even as early as the middle of the Twentieth Century, the Casimir effect, dark energy and so on. But if it existed, it would have very bizarre properties and, at the time, they never found any direct evidence that it actually existed. So it was dismissed as hypothetical.
“Loop quantum gravity’s refinement changed all that. Now we know it has to be real. Loop gravity gave us expected subatomic decay patterns to look for but, these were so energetic that it seemed unlikely that we’d ever build particle accelerators big enough to generate some. It was the fundamental particle we couldn’t box, not with today’s technology.”
She sweeped her hand towards the giant rings looming above.
“This thing? This thing might give us proof. We think it might have been a machine that used or generated negative mass/energy. That’s why my team is here now.”